News

What's On

Building Fire Safety

Building Fire Safety

The Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000 contains a list of statutory fire safety measures that may be installed in a building and also specifies inspection, maintenance and certification requirements.  

Cessnock City Council implements the guidelines of relevant NSW legislation to ensure buildings are maintained with appropriate fire safety measures.  Council’s Fire Safety Officer is available to answer questions in relation to fire safety on (02) 4993 4100.  

Buildings that are of business, tourist accommodation, commercial or industrial use that have been constructed, renovated or had a change of use since 1988 are included in Council's Fire Safety Register.  

Forms:

Fire Safety Certificate(s):  

Fire Safety Certificates, being the first certificate, are required for all new or altered buildings. The certificate must detail each new or altered essential fire safety measure as detailed within the Fire Safety Schedule issued with either a Development Consent or Construction Certificate.  

A copy of the Fire Safety Certificate form can be found under forms.  

Annual Fire Safety Statement:  

An Annual Fire Safety Statement (AFSS) must be supplied to Council once every 12 months after the initial Fire Safety Certificate is completed. The AFSS certifies that a qualified person has inspected the building and determined that the fire safety measures within the building meet the relevant standards.  

Once the annual statement is complete, it can be lodged with Council by email, post, and fax or in person at the Council Chambers building. A copy is also to be provided to The Commissioner of Fire & Rescue NSW via afss@fire.nsw.gov.au

A blank copy of the annual fire statement can be downloaded from forms There is a fee for lodging this statement, the fees are listed in Council’s Fees and Charges Operational Plan.  

Council sends the building owner courtesy reminder letters, 3 months and 14 days prior to the due date.  

Penalties:  

It is an office to fail to provide an Annual Fire Safety Statement. Substantial and continuing weekly penalty notices apply for this offence. Penalty rates are as follows:  

  • 1 week late no less than $1000
  • 2 weeks late no less than an additional $2000
  • 3 weeks late no less than an additional $3000
  • 4 weeks late no less than an additional $4000.    

Failure to submit an annual fire safety statement could also lead to legal proceedings in the Land and Environment Court, where the maximum penalty for a breach is $110,000.    

Essential Fire Safety Measures:  

A fire safety measure include installations, equipment, or a feature of construction that is required to ensure the safety of a buildings occupants in the event of a fire or other emergency. Examples include, Exit Signs, Portable Fire Extinguishers, and Emergency Lighting, Fire Hose reels, Smoke Detection and Alarm Systems etc.  

Fire Safety Schedules:  

Fire Safety Schedules list the measures required to be installed and the standard to which they need to be implemented. A Fire Safety Schedule can be issued by:  

  • Council or an accredited certifier at the time of Construction Certificate;
  • Council with a fire safety order; or
  • Council, at the time of development consent, e.g., when works are for a ‘change of use’ to an existing building.

Essential fire safety measures needing repair:  

The owner of the premises must make the necessary arrangements for the fire safety measures to be inspected and statement provided before the expiry of the time allowed.  

In circumstances where an annual fire safety statement cannot be submitted because repairs are required, Council may consider postponing weekly penalty infringement notices. If you want Council to consider your case for an extension of time please complete a written request or email outlining reasons to Council’s Fire Safety Officer on (02) 4993 4100.

Failure to submit an Annual Fire Safety Statement:  

Council treats Fire Safety issues seriously. The owner of a building is responsible for ensuring lodgment of an Annual Fire Safety Statement, submitted as per the requirements of the relevant legislation. An Annual Fire Safety Statement is required to be submitted for occupied, tenanted and in some cases vacant buildings. Failure to submit on time may result in:  

  • Incomplete or late statements may result in a fine.
  • Unsatisfactory statements will be required to be re-submitted to correct inadequacies
  • On-the-spot fines can be imposed against the owner for 'Failure to provide an Annual/Supplementary Fire Safety Statement'.
  • The issue of a fine does not excuse the need to lodge a complete Annual Fire Safety Statement.
  • Failure to meet your statutory requirement will result in Council taking legal action against you, in the form of an Order, and/or the continued issue of on-the-spot fines.
  • 'Failure to maintain essential Fire Safety Measures' (which is a separate offence) can also result in a fine.  

Other Links:

For other information on Fire Safety, including smoke alarms, home evacuation plans, winter fire safety at home and fact sheets, please refer to the NSW Fire and Rescue web site and for more information on legislation refer to the Department of Planning.